The plaque at the Totem Pole at Smithers Secondary School (Deb Meissner photo)

The plaque at the Totem Pole at Smithers Secondary School (Deb Meissner photo)

New totem pole to represent academic excellence for children

Ron Austin to carve new Totem Pole for Walnut Park Elementary School’s opening

A new totem pole is scheduled to be ready for the opening of the new Walnut Park Elementary School.

Designed to be seen from the highway, standing 45 feet tall, “the concept for the totem pole is about children reaching for academic excellence going up the pole to their eventual success at the top of the pole, said Birdy Markert, Indigenous principal for SD54, and the person primarily in charge of the project.

READ MORE: Smithers journal a unique cultural resource

Ron Austin, master carver, will be carving the totem, and is at this time searching timber for the right size tree.

“It is an important project for the school district and the community,” said Mike McDiarmid, superintendent of SD54. “A totem pole would provide an opportunity to acknowledge and provide information on the Indigenous peoples of this area, for instance the history around Indian Town.”

McDiarmid is currently working with other organizations, such as the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, Town of Smithers and provincial government representatives, to financially support the cost of the totem pole.

According to Markert, the anticipated cost will be between $250,000 and $300,000.

READ MORE: Highway of Tears memorial totem pole to be raised tomorrow

“The artist and master carver is Ron Austin, who is also a hereditary chief of the Wet’suwet’en,” said Markert.

“His carvings are known worldwide, so we are very pleased to have such a renowned master carver for this project.

“Our intention is to have information plaques at the bottom of the totem pole that explain the history of the Wet’suwet’en people, and Indian Town.”

McDiarmid said the district is planning on having a carving shed set up at the site of the old Walnut Park school, so the children can be involved as the pole is carved.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media files)
Town of Smithers issues alert for high levels of chlorine in water

Residents are advised to not use water until further notice if strong chlorine smell detected

Garry Merkel has been recognized for his work in culturally appropriate Indigenous education with an honourary doctorate from the University of British Columbia.
Tahltan educator recognized with honorary doctorate from UBC

Garry Merkel has dedicated his life to improving Indigenous educational outcomes

Gareth Manderson, general manager BC Works, and Bandstra’s Zach Runions and Steve Collins. Photo supplied
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. COVID-19 hotspots targeted as AstraZeneca vaccine runs low

17,000 appointments booked the first day for people aged 40 and up

Dresses hang outside Nelson city hall as part of the REDress Project by Métis artist Jaime Black. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
B.C. red dresses symbolizing missing, murdered Indigenous women vandalized a 2nd time

Nelson’s REDress Project was vandalized along with an outdoor installation on Vancouver Island

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A nurse loads a syringe with a vaccine for injection at the Victoria Clipper Terminal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout not enough to bring back normal life by fall: report

Only 51% of the population will be protected under B.C.’s current rollout, SFU professors say more vaccinations are needed to achieve herd immunity

Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
UPDATED: Second-degree murder conviction stands for Abbotsford school killer

Judge finds that Gabriel Klein is criminally responsible for death of Letisha Reimer

FILE – RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Very scary’: B.C. travel rules too vague, shouldn’t involve police, civil liberties group says

BCCLA said that speaking with communities could have avoided top-down approach

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)
It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Most Read